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The Evolution of Medical Views on Exercise: 
Physical Activity in Health Promotion and
Disease Prevention Database

The Evolution of Physical Activity Recommendations

Chronological Search by Author

The following is an historical list, with charts, of physical activity recommendations, modeled after the list published in Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General (1996).

Browse through the list and click on any author to pull up a printer-friendly abstract of relevant material from the work cited.

Author

Year

Publication

Hippocrates

ca. 400 BC

Regimen

Galen

ca. 200 AD

De sanitate tuenda

Selected Works

Medici Maestros

1463

A Renaissance Regimen

Thomas Elyot

1531

1539

The Boke named Governour

The Castel of Healthe

Cristobal Mendez

1553

The Book of Bodily Exercise

Luigi Cornaro 1558  Treatise on a Sober Life
Girolamo Cardano    The Book of My Life

Girolamo Mercuriale

1569

De arte gymnastica

Thomas Cogan

1584

The Haven of Health

Richard Mulcaster


Positions

John Harington

1607

The School of Salernum

Robert Burton

1621

The Anatomy of Melancholy

Leonardus Lessius

1634

Hygiasticon

Tobias Venner

1638

Via Recta ad Vitam Longam

Lord Bacon


History of Life and Death

Friedrich Hoffmann

1695

Fundamenta Medicinae

Bernardini Ramazzini

1700

Diseases of Workers

Francis Fuller

1705

Medicina Gymnastica

George Cheyne

1724

An Essay of Health and Long Life

Nicolas Andry

1743

Whether Moderate Exercise is not the Best Preserver of Health?

John Armstrong

1744

The Art of Preserving Health

James MacKenzie

1758

The History of Health and the Art of Preserving It

William Buchan

1769

Domestic Medicine

Benjamin Rush

1777

Directions for Preserving the Health of Soldiers

Joseph-Clement Tissot

1780

Medicinal and Surgical Gymnastics

Bernard Christoph Faust

1794

Catechism of Health

A. F. M. Willich

1799

Lectures on Diet and Regimen

Johann GutsMuth

1803

Gymnastics for Youth: or A Practical Guide. . . .

Shadrach Ricketson

1806

Means of Preserving Health

Edward Cutbush

1808

Observations on the Means of Preserving Health

James Thacher

1817

American Modern Practice

A. Richerand

1819

Elements of Physiology

James Johnson

1820

The Influence of Civic Life, Sedentary Habits, . . .

James Ewell 1822

 The Medical Companion

William Kitchiner 1824

 The Art of Invigorating and Prolonging Life

P.H. Clias

1825

An Elementary Course of Gymnastic Exercises

John C. Gunn

1830

Gunn's Domestic Medicine

Thomas J. Graham

1831

Sure Methods of Improving Health and Prolonging Life

Porter

1831

The Catechism of Health

Edward Hitchcock

1831

Dyspepsia

William P. Dewees

1832

A Treatise on the Physical & Medical Treatment of Children.

John Sinclair

1833

The Code of Health and Longevity

Charles Caldwell

1833

Thoughts on Physical Education

Andrew Combe

1834

Principles of Physiology

Robley Dunglison

1835

On the Influence of Atmosphere and Locality

Elisha Bartlett

1838

Obedience to the Laws of Health, a Moral Duty

J. L. Comstock

1844

Outlines of Physiology

John Warren

1845

Physical Education and the Preservation of Health

O. S. Fowler

1847

Physiology, Animal and Mental: Applied to the Preservation and . . .

James Manby Gully

1847

The Water Cure in Chronic Disease

M. M. Rodgers

1848

Physical Education and Medical Management of Children

Edward Johnson

1849

The Domestic Practice of Hydropathy

Calvin Cutter

1852

Treatise on Anatomy, Physiology, and Hygiene

R. T. Trall

1852

1857

The Hydropathic Encyclopedia

The Illustrated Family Gymnasium

Joel Shew

1844

1854

 
1850

Handbook of Hydropathy

Consumption: Prevention & Cure by the Water Treatment

The Water-Cure Manual: A Popular Work

Captain Chiosso

1855

The Gymnastic Polymachinon

William-Edward Coale

1855

Hints on Health

"Craven" 1855 Walker's Manly Exercises
Catharine Beecher

1856

 
1856

Physiology and Calisthenics for Schools and Families

Calisthenic Exercises, For Schools, Families and Health Establ.

H. Halstead

1856

Motorpathy, and Motion — Life

William Alcott

1857

The Laws of Health

Thomas Bailey

1857

Records of Longevity

Addison P. Dutcher

1858

Exercise: its Physiology and Utility

William W. Hall

1859

1869
 

1877

Health and Disease; a Book for the People

The Guidebook to Health, Peace, & Competence

Dyspepsia, and its Kindred Diseases

John King

1860

The American Family Physician

George Taylor

1860

An Exposition of the Swedish Movement-Cure

Henry Heather Bigg

1865

Orthopraxy: The Medical Treatment of Deformities, . . .

Worthington Hooker

1866

Human Physiology

Archibald Maclaren

1866

Training, in Theory and Practice

Thomas Inman

1868

On the Value of Exercise

J. N. Loughborough

1868

Handbook of Health; or, A Brief Treatise on Physiology & Hygiene

Dio Lewis

1871

 
1883

Weak Lungs, and How to Make them Strong

The New Gymnastics

Richard McSherry

1879

Health, and How to Promote It

M. Augusta Fairchild

1879

How to be Well

C. Klemm

1879

Muscle-beating

William Mason Cornell

1880

Clergy mens & Students Health

T. L. Nichols

1881

The Diet Cure: An Essay on the Relations of Food and Drink

Felix Oswald

1882

Physical Education Or, Health Laws of Nature

George H. Taylor 1883

Health by Exercise

William Blaikie

1883

1884

How to Get Strong and How to Stay So

Sound Bodies for Our Boys and Girls

Joseph Schreiber

1887

A Manual of Treatment by Massage and Methodological .....

Marcus P. Hatfield

1887

The Physiology and Hygiene of the House in Which We Live

Hartvig Nissen

1889

Practical Massage and Corrective Exercises with Applied Anatomy

Fernand Lagrange

1890

Physiology of Bodily Exercise

William Dewitt Hyde

1891

A Rational System of Physical Training

Mary Taylor Bissell

1893

Physical Development and Exercise for Women

Genevieve Stebbins

1893

Dynamic Breathing & Harmonic Gymnastics

John Harvey Kellogg

1895

The Art of Massage: A Practical Manual for the Nurse, Student & ..

William T. Harris

1898

The Effect of Exercise on the Vital Organs

Josiah Quincy

1898

Playgrounds, Baths and Gymnasia

Anders Wide

1902

Hand-book of Medical & Orthopedic Gymnastics

Axel V. Grafstrom

1904

A Text-book of Mechano-therapy

Samuel Smiles

1905

Physical Education of the Young; Or, The Nurture and Management..

Harry H. Moore

1915

Keeping in Condition

Lynch & Cumming

1918

How to Keep Fit in Camp and Trench

Walter Camp

1919

Keeping Fit all the Way: How to Obtain and Maintain Health . . . . .

Dudley Reed

1939

Keep Fit and Like It

Dorothy Nye

1942

Lady be Fit! Exercises for Energy, Efficiency & Lasting Health

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